Most Highly Anticipated Festivals in November Around the World in 2023
As November rolls in, winter's chill is not far behind. Yet, there's no reason for the spirits to dampen! Europe buzzes with activity, from festivals celebrating the crisp atmosphere to cities preparing early for the festive season.
Iceland Airwaves, Iceland
2nd – 4th November 2023
Iceland Airwaves, initiated in 1999 inside an airplane hangar, has since evolved into Reykjavík's most iconic music festival every November. Celebrated by Rolling Stone as the "hippest long weekend," it showcases both emerging and renowned artists. Set against Iceland's mesmerizing landscapes, the festival offers not just music, but an intimate atmosphere where attendees and performers blend seamlessly. Beyond melodies, it's an immersive experience where nature's grandeur meets musical brilliance.
Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night), England
4th November 2023
Across the UK, the 5th of November is synonymous with bonfires, sparklers, and traditional treats. However, in the town of Lewes near Sussex, the celebrations take on a more intense hue. Residents parade through the streets, embodying characters from Vikings to smugglers, brandishing flaming torches and even towing burning tar barrels. Some chants harken back to historical religious tensions. This vivid spectacle commemorates the 17 Protestant martyrs executed in Lewes following Guy Fawkes' infamous 1605 gunpowder plot. For fire enthusiasts, it's an unmatched experience. But, for me, the allure lies in the vibrant display of characters and the raw energy filling the streets.
Sinterklaas Parade - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
19 November, 2023
Amsterdam pulses with energy in November and December, undeterred by the chill. The city's festive spirit ignites with the grand entrance of Saint Nicholas, arriving by ship and subsequently leading a jubilant parade. This event draws children from all over, eager to partake in the festivities, making the ambiance truly magical. Check our blogpost on Amsterdam Festivals - if not this one, you may find another one just right for you.
Alba White Truffle Festival - Piedmont, Italy
7 October- 3 December, 2023
The Alba White Truffle Fair in Piedmont, Italy, stands as the premier truffle showcase, running from October to December. Local farmers present vast assortments of truffles, meticulously inspected for top quality before being offered for sale. Alongside these truffle displays, numerous wine and food stalls celebrate this renowned delicacy, ensuring a gourmet experience for all attendees. Each year the festival traditionally begins with the Historic Procession at the Medieval Parade, a cherished segment of the annual festivities. Check the official site to get more information.
Chiang Mai Lantern Festival, Thailand
27th – 28th November 2023
Imagine standing with fellow festival attendees on a beach, gazing upwards as thousands of lanterns ascend into the night sky above Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festivals are revered annual events that pay homage to the Buddha. Though lantern release ceremonies can be witnessed throughout Asia on November 25th, Chiang Mai's lush landscape makes it an exceptionally breathtaking backdrop. Residents ignite lanterns and release small boats crafted from banana stalks, carrying incense and flowers. This act signifies the release of negativity, a symbolic gesture many could benefit from embracing more frequently.
Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, Canada
11th November 2023 – 19th February 2024
While the natural spectacle of millions of cubic feet of water plummeting down is magnificent on its own, the Festival of Lights in November adds a touch of brilliance with illuminations and resonating music. Spanning from mid-November to mid-December, the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights enhances the festive atmosphere with a 5km light display encompassing both Niagara and the Dufferin Islands. State-of-the-art technology beams vibrant visuals synchronized with an enthralling soundtrack, playing repeatedly between 6 and 9 pm.
Diwali: Celebrated Across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Beyond
12th November 2023
Often referred to as the Festival of Lights, Diwali stands as a radiant testament to the triumph of good over evil. While its date varies annually, the festivities predominantly take place in October or November. This vibrant celebration is embraced by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and certain Buddhists across a multitude of countries. No matter the location, a canvas of gleaming lights, candles, and fireworks paints the skyline. Each of the festival's five days holds a unique significance, ranging from shopping and adorning homes to cherishing moments with loved ones.
Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan, India
20th – 28th November 2023
A pinnacle of Indian festivities, the Pushkar Camel Fair transforms the lakeside town of Pushkar every November. Guided by the lunar calendar, this event emerges as one of the grandest camel celebrations globally. Spanning 12 days, the initial 5 are reserved for camel trading. However, as the days progress, the emphasis shifts from camels to a myriad of other engaging activities in Pushkar and the fair itself, ensuring there's never a dull moment.
New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, USA
23rd November 2023
As families prepare their festive feasts and comfortable attire awaits its annual appearance, nothing embodies the spirit of Thanksgiving quite like the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Have you glimpsed the captivating images from past years? This beloved parade winds its way from the Upper East Side to midtown Manhattan. While watching it on TV offers its own charm, there's an unparalleled energy to experiencing it live amidst the bustling New York crowd. Even if you're nestled within the throngs and might only spot a portion of the mesmerizing floats, this three-hour celebration is a vibrant ushering into the holiday spirit. And, for that quintessential New York experience, don't forget to snag some roasted cashews from a local street vendor.